• Nadia Ross


Updated: Mar 30, 2020

Violence and art.

Growing up, I was touched by violence and art. In my family and in the world, there was no safe place for me to land (I love that expression. I fantasied about it and yearned for it for half of my life: having a safe place to land).

It was mostly in the times that involved art, where there was either music or a movie or painting or dancing, in those moments there was also a kind of peace and some feelings of happiness. So, of course, I was drawn to art because I wanted safety and peace and happiness.

Art was the best thing in my world.

At a very young age, my eyes were open to the reality of this world, and veils of illusions were ripped away: the world will, at times, completely fail you. In some past work, I have shared a bit about the events that led me to disengage from the world as a child. I won’t repeat them here.

For some of us, this is a common, ongoing experience (having no feeling of safety). For others, it is a momentary experience which is then transformed by love (and the re-introduction of safety) into something else.

This transformation holds meaning and it’s that meaning that turns the events into a ‘story’.

Knowing that the world will, at times, completely fail you is good to know and understand, if you want to understand how stories work.

As a child, I would hike through the woods and make my way to a farmer’s field. It had a beautiful view of the sunset, a creek and always some insects, reptiles or animals and birds around. It had a big tree next to the creek. This is where I spent my time, hidden in the tall grass, away from people, friends with nature. Nature was always healing me.

Many of us who have known repeated psychological shocks create patterns and repetitions in order to cope: we return to things, repeat things in order to finally understand and transform them. I have returned to the area I grew up in, to the nature of the Gatineau Hills, as if I’m still looking for evidence that will help me make sense of what happened.

It’s from a far-away place deep in nature that I am able to look at the drama, real and imagined, and make out its elements, how it is made.

And this is what I have found out: by looking at the events in life, the hard stuff as well as everything else, and fully digesting what happened, something good can come. This is not something I believe in, in order to have the courage to go on. It is something that I have seen, first-hand, and so therefore can rely on: it is how stories are formed. By deciphering the elements in the events, by diligently paying attention to what is real and what is not real, what works and what is not working, looking at the minute, tedious details of everyday life as well as the dramatic moments, by turning over every stone and feeling every feeling along the way, the event is digested, transformed, and goes from being a burden you carry to becoming a song that moves you through life.

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